So you’re ready to start doing yoga but you’re not completely sold AND you’re on a budget. You don’t want to spend a bunch of money on something that’s going to end up in a dark corner of your closet like that elastic band set you found on Amazon. Well you’re in luck my friend! We’ve compiled a review of the best cheap yoga mats that anyone can afford.
Top Picks For The Best Cheap Yoga Mats
Before Buying an Inexpensive Yoga Mat
Before buying a yoga mat, and especially a lower cost one, there’s a few things to consider. Since price doesn’t always correlate with quality, you can find some really great mats for little money (and some bad one's for a lot). That being said, there’s no one size fits all yoga mat. The one you love might not be the one your best friend likes and vice versa. So here’s a few things to consider when evaluating your options:
First and foremost, the overarching purpose of a yoga mat is to provide traction. This is especially important if you plan on doing hot yoga because you’ll be sweaty and slipping can happen. The traction of your mat will depend on the material, the thickness, the stickiness and the texture of the yoga mat (rough, raised bumps, etc.).
The other factor is how your mat sticks to the floor below. If you’re doing yoga on a hardwood floor, you’ll want a stickier mat whereas carpet won’t need as much. The last thing you want is to wind up flat on your face in the middle of a crowded class. With that said, we've chosen a number of affordable yoga mats with great traction for both hot and non-heated yoga.
Mats range from about 3mm up to a full 1 inch thick. The thicker mats provide more cushioning for your joints during floor poses which can be great if you have knee, back or hip issues. Be careful though because if you haven’t mastered your balance, the thick mats can throw you off. Thicker mats are also made from more pliable material which can lead to the mat stretching while you're in downward dog or other poses with opposing pressure.
A thinner mat is usually made from a dense material that still provides great cushioning, doesn’t affect your balance as much, and doesn't stretch or tear when opposing pressure is applied.
One more thing to consider about thickness is that the dense mats can weigh more. Keep that in mind because you may not feel like heaving it over your shoulder and walking to class.
(Related: 5 Best Yoga Swings Reviewed)
The material of your mat has a big impact on softness vs. density, texture, grip and how you feel when you’re on it. Yoga mats come in several different materials these days, natural rubber, PVC, cotton, jute, hemp, bamboo and a few other synthetic blends.
Natural rubber is a personal favorite because it's natural and extremely durable. But they are heavier and can take a little longer to dry out because you can’t throw it in the dryer like a cotton mat. And if you have a latex allergy you’ll want to keep away from rubber mats since they’ll cause irritation.
PVC is the most common material for inexpensive yoga mats because it's the cheapest to produce. If you’re an eco-friendly person then you may want to consider going for a natural option like rubber, jute or hemp since PVC is not recyclable. There’s also a never ending debate about the chemicals used in PVC. They do contain known carcinogens so you’ll have to decide whether or not you’re okay with using one.
Cotton, jute and hemp are the more natural mats that can have either a soft resin undercoating or be sans coating on the bottom. The one's without the resin undercoat are convenient to pop in the washer after class but don’t offer the same level of cushioning. These are sometimes referred to as “yoga rugs”. Only hardcore yogis who don't have sensitive joints can tolerate using the yoga rugs.
(Related: 7 Best Yoga Wheels Reviewed)
What Type of Yoga Will You be Doing?
Will you be doing hot or non-heated yoga? If you’re doing hot yoga, you’ll want a mat that’s sweat absorbent. Even if you're not someone who sweats very much, many of the positions cause sweat to pool on the mat and run down your hands. This can, and often does cause slipping that makes it very hard to focus in class.
Alternatively, you could get a yoga towel to go over your mat… but let's stick to the mat for right now. If you’re doing basic yoga then a sweat absorbent mat probably isn’t necessary. Now lets get down to business...
Best Cheap Yoga Mats Reviewed
Our Pick for the Most Affordable Yoga Mat
As always we're forced to pick among the great options we've reviewed. So the mat we feel provides the greatest mix of quality, value and functionality for the money is:
It currently comes in several vibrant colors, its extra wide, latex free and eco-friendly TPE material, has a raised surface for extra grip and guide lines for hand and foot placement. Overall this is the one we recommend the highest out of all the cheap yoga mats for sale.
Why We Chose This As The Best Affordable Yoga Mat
The Heathyoga Mat has a raised texture on the surface that does a perfect job of preventing slipping. It's known to hold up well in any non-heated yoga environment and some people have even used it in heated yoga (although its not meant for this). We never had to worry about this mat causing us any problems with slipping or sticking to our hands when changing positions. The thick texture also lets your hands sink in just enough to really grip the mat and make extra sure your hands a firmly planted.
I'll admit, I wasn't convinced about the alignment lines when I first saw the mat. I thought they were more for style points than anything else. However, all of us found the lines useful when changing poses. The line down the middle helps you re-center on the yoga mat without going too far to one side or the other. It also has 45 degree lines and several other lines that made the mat beginner friendly and served as a form/positioning reminder to our more advanced yogis. You can read more about the lines on their website but we found them to be pretty self-explanatory when we started practicing on the Heathyoga mat.
Easy To Clean
We're big on mats being easy to clean. You yoga mat is on the ground in busy yoga studios, gets rolled up onto itself, and gets sweat and other germs on it. When you think about it that way, the yoga mat's a pretty dirty surface. The Heathyoga mat is one that's very easy to clean and disinfect which makes it one of the best cheap yoga mats. The slightly raised surface didn't interfere with cleaning or trap dirt as long as you simply wipe the mat in a circular motion. It's closed cell surface also ensured that a quick spray down actually did kill the germs and nothing was secretly trapped in tiny little pores of the mat. Overall, this mat was a breeze to clean and required very little attention beyond the occasional wipe-down.
At 6 mm thick we found this yoga mat to be just right. Some people with sensitive joints may need to opt for something a little thicker but the average person will find 6 mm to be plenty of cushioning. The TPE foam is dense so it minimizes the feel of the floor underneath you and makes a better cushion. Additionally, this dense material and 6 mm thickness is not so thick or soft that you sink in and lose balance. Some of the softer materials and thicker mats can cause you to sink which can throw you off balance - especially if you're new to yoga and haven't fully developed your stabilizer muscles.
We're big fans of the 26 inch wide yoga mats. Often times larger individuals go off the sides when attempting lying poses such as Pigeon pose. And while an extra 2" on the sides may not sound like a much, we found it was the perfect amount to keep all knees and elbows on the mat at all times. The Heathyoga mat is also 72 inches long making it over-sized and just right for taller individuals as well. Overall, we couldn't be happier with this as a budget yoga mat.
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